Serie A Preview: Pescara v Milan
By Football News
Milan can strengthen their grip on the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot when they travel to relegated Pescara on Wednesday.
Massimiliano Allegri's men sit third following their 1-0 win over Torino and are four points clear of fourth-placed Fiorentina, who fell to a 1-0 defeat against Roma in their last outing.
Mario Balotelli was the hero for Milan as he netted a late winner in Sunday's victory, and the onus will likely be placed on him and top-scorer Stephen El Shaarawy, who has 16 league goals this term, to deliver against a side that has conceded a mammoth 74 times in a disastrous campaign.
El Shaarawy was on the scoresheet in the reverse fixture as Milan eased to a 4-1 win at San Siro, midfielder Antonio Nocerino also finding the net in addition to two own goals from Cristian Bucchi's men.
Allegri will hope his side can again secure victory without a number of first-team players, with Ricardo Montilivo, Bojan Krkic, Massimo Ambrosini and Nigel de Jong all still unavailable through injury.
Per Kroldrup could yet return for Pescara, but the game will likely come to soon for on-loan midfielder Juan Quintero, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United.
Bucchi has a lengthy injury list to contend with, goalkeeper Ivan Pelizzoli and midfielders Francesco Modesto and Gaetano D'Agostino are all expected to miss the rest of the season as are winger Vladimir Weiss and young striker Gianluca Caprari.
The basement club have little to play for going into this one and look to be already preparing for life in Serie B next season.
Most of Bucchi's side's wins have come at the Adriatico but they still possess the worst home record in the division with only four victories in front of their own fans.
With no win since their shock 2-0 win at Fiorentina in January confidence is likely to be low in the home camp and with Milan having only lost four times away from San Siro this campaign, another defeat appears inevitable.
There can be no certainties in football, but with another crack at the UEFA Champions League on the horizon, Milan will need no further motivation to compound Pescara's misery.